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🎶 Lights up on Washington Heights! 🎶 …Or rather, on our movie and TV screens. It feels like it’s been an eternity, but we’re finally getting the first genuine taste of summer courtesy of the highly anticipated movie In the Heights, which is coming to theaters June 11!
There’s still a week before you can put on your dancing shoes and move your hips to the rhythm of the bachata music, but let’s explore what the hype is all about. After all, this genius of a movie is based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway musical, which he casually composed during his days at Wesleyan University (is there anything this beautiful man CAN’T do?). Oh, and now it’s being adapted to the big screen by none other than Crazy Rich Asians director John Chu. With those two collaborating, it’s bound to be magical. Here’s what we know about In the Heights.
Is there a trailer I can watch?
Yes, but we can do you one better. How would you like to watch the first eight minutes of the movie?? In a truly wild move from Warner Bros. Studios, the first part of the movie is now available on YouTube so you can get a personal sneak peek of what’s to come.
Before you begin to ask, yes—this is the entire first number from the film. And…I have no words for it. The choreography? The diversity of the Washington Heights community? The hustle and bustle of New York City?? Perfection.
*cues up the In the Heights Broadway cast recording*
Amazing. But tell me, what exactly is In the Heights about?
Allow me to give you intel on the movie itself before you start properly fangirling. Taking place over three days, the film follows the interpersonal relationships of the Latin community living in Washington Heights, a New York City neighborhood. It focuses primarily on bodega owner Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who has big dreams for himself…including getting with his dream girl Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), a hairstylist working in the boutique beauty salon next door. Joining the couple are other important figures in their lives, such as Nina (Leslie Grace), Usnavi’s best friend who has quite the surprise for her parents when she returns home from college.
But here’s the real kicker: Usnavi ends up selling a lottery ticket while on shift, and its result is a $96,000 reward to whomever has the correct numbers on it. Well, we can’t give you any more details than that, but it does put the entire community in quite a bit of upheaval, with many questions and potentially some surprises strewn in along the way.
TL;DR: It’s a story about love, resilience, celebrating community, and the beauty of finding your home. Genius.
Who is starring in In the Heights?
Get ready for this one, because there are plenty of Hollywood heavy hitters to go around in this movie cast. Former Hamilton star Anthony Ramos is taking on the main role, with Vida actress Melissa Barrera portraying Vanessa. Stephanie Beatriz, Broadway legend Daphne Rubin-Vega, Corey Hawkins, Dascha Polanco, and Jimmy Smits will all have featured roles too. Oh, and expect a cameo from a casual Spanish pop star named Marc Anthony (!!) too.
And saving the best for last: Our fave literary genius Lin himself will make a special appearance. Watch out for him as the neighborhood “piragua guy” walking by the 181st Street subway station, because what is more quintessentially New York than that?
Alright, I’m in! Now, how can I watch In the Heights?
Good Q! The film is expected to hit theaters on June 11, so get your popcorn ready. But for those who would rather watch it from the comfort of your home, no worries—HBO Max has your back. For those who have accounts (if not, it’s $14.99 a month to subscribe), the movie will debut on the streaming platform the same day as its theatrical premiere.
And should you find yourself humming the catchy music once you’re done (because the title track is already stuck in my head), you’ll be able to download the movie soundtrack that same day. Can we get ourselves an amen while we’re at it?
And if you’re looking for some musical spoilers…
As much as we’re all PUMPED to finally have the movie in our grasp, we do need to expect some changes to be made from its stage predecessor. But if you’re ever so curious about the original Broadway show, here are just a few quick deets:
The show initially premiered on Broadway in March 2008 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Lin-Manuel Miranda starred as Usnavi, bringing along with him some other famous Broadway stars: Christopher Jackson (you know…George Washington in Hamilton), Karen Olivo, Mandy Gonzalez, and Robin de Jesús, among others.
The basic storyline is the same as the movie: It follows a group of Dominicans in the Washington Heights community as they go through life’s many ups and downs.
The significance of the lottery ticket is slightly different than you’ll see in the movie, but it affects the characters just the same.
Want more movie intel? Yeah. We know you do. You can find all of our film coverage here.
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